NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - The Nacogdoches Film Festival was set to start Thursday night.
Independent film makers, Hollywood directors, and the most acclaimed special guest, George R.R. Martin, the writer and producer of "Game of Thrones" books and television series are attracting hundreds of visitors.
East Texas News got the details on how the once-unknown film festival became a sell-out event.
Stephen F. Austin State University graduate student film student Justin Herring said he remembers the Nacogdoches Film Festival's humble beginnings.
“There was only like two of us in there watching all the films, and it was mainly SFA student films,” Herring said.
Four years later, the festival has changed as much as the equipment that's used to make the films.
“This year it's jumped to be a real solid film festival and I think it's just the beginning,” said Nacogdoches author and screenwriter Joe R. Lansdale.
Lansdale's novel “Cold in July,” now a feature film which can be found on Showtime and Video on Demand, connected him with talented filmmakers. Years of writing provided talented writers as friends.
“I mean we got George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones coming in to do a signing at Hastings and to show a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones,” Lansdale said. “He'll be doing some panels."
Other connections came from Brad Maule, a former Hollywood television actor. He now teaches filmmaking at SFA. Former students are bringing their successful commercial films. In addition, entries from around the world were submitted allowing the Nacogdoches Film Festival to remain a learning experience.
“We just want to expose them to world class filmmakers, and if we can do that, then when they go out into the big world, they're a little more ready."
That's valuable experience for students like Herring.
“I'm shooting my thesis film this summer and I am launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for it,” Herring said.
Maybe Herring will make the connections like everybody else.
Many panel discussions at the Nacogdoches Film Festival are free. Tickets to other venues are sold out, but organizers say supporters often return the tickets for resale.
The complete schedule can be found at this
. Also Herring's Kickstarter
is titled “Camino.” There is also a Facebook
for his student film.